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Advocacy

Virginia Becomes the 20th State to Protect LGBTQ Youth From Conversion Therapy

BY: Kinzi Sparks
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On Monday, March 2nd, Virginia became the 20th state to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy as Governor Northam signed legislation prohibiting licensed medical professionals from practicing the widely discredited practice of conversion therapy on minors. The bill will go into effect on July 1, 2020.

“As a survivor of this dangerous and fraudulent practice, I can’t fathom just how many young LGBTQ lives may be saved with these critical protections from conversion therapy. At The Trevor Project, we hear from LGBTQ youth in crisis every day and we know that those who are subjected to conversion therapy are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide. This bold action will send a message to all LGBTQ young people in the great Commonwealth of Virginia that they are loved and deserve support,” said Sam Brinton (they/them), Head of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. “Conversion therapy has no place in modern society and as the first of many LGBTQ-affirming bills to reach the desk of Governor Northam, we are happy to sweep conversion therapy into the dustbin of history.”

The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth, released in June 2019 the results of its inaugural 2019 National Survey on LGBTQ Mental Health, including insights around conversion therapy. The cross-sectional national survey of LGBTQ youth across the United States found that:

  • LGBTQ youth who had undergone conversion therapy were more than twice as likely to attempt suicide as those who did not.
  • 42 percent of LGBTQ youth who underwent conversion therapy reported a suicide attempt in the past year.
  • 57 percent of transgender and non-binary youth who have undergone conversion therapy reported a suicide attempt in the last year.

Conversion therapy is widely opposed by prominent professional medical associations including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The Trevor Project’s 50 Bills 50 States campaign has partnered with Equality Virginia, the Human Rights Campaign, and NCLR’s Born Perfect campaign, along with local advocates in support of these vital protections.

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